August 27, 2019

Ex-Malaysia PM Najib Razak Faces Court for Biggest 1MDB Corruption Trial
(Bloomberg) -- Malaysian prosecutors will seek to prove that Najib Razak acted together with fugitive financier Jho Low in their alleged roles in 1MDB, as the former premier faces his biggest trial linked to the troubled state fund.“In truth, Jho Low was the accused’s mirror image,” prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said in his opening statement in the Kuala Lumpur court. “The prosecution will establish facts which will give rise to an irresistible inference that Jho Low and the accused acted as one at all material times.”The 25 charges Najib faces revolve around 1MDB’s multibillion-dollar bond sales and acquisitions. That includes accusations he received 2.08 billion ringgit ($495 million) of bribes related to a letter of government support for $3 billion of 1MDB bonds in 2013, as well as allegations he accepted 49.9 million ringgit linked to a $975 million loan facility from Deutsche Bank AG. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Jho Low, or Low Taek Jho, has denied any wrongdoing in response to charges against him in the U.S. and Malaysia.The start to the proceeding was postponed many times as it clashed with Najib’s first 1MDB trial, which involved local transactions by the state fund’s former unit. The delays point to the massive task Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has ahead of him in getting to the bottom of the 1MDB scandal. Since wresting power from Najib last year, the prime minister has prioritized investigations into the scandal, as well as recouping funds believed to be lost through the scandal-ridden fund.Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s lawyer is also present in court to hold a watching brief. Malaysia has charged three of the bank’s units as well as 17 of its current and former directors over $6.5 billion of bond in bonds the bank arranged for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013.Multiple ChargesHere are a few of the charges Najib faces today:He allegedly received 90.9 million ringgit linked to 1MDB deals, including:Joint venture with PetroSaudi International Ltd. costing $1 billion and subsequent 1 billion ringgit investment in the JV10.6 billion ringgit bid for Tanjong Energy Holdings Sdn.2.75 billion ringgit purchase of Syarikat Mastika Lagenda Sdn. sharesHe allegedly received 60.6 million ringgit gratification for approving a state guarantee on 5 billion ringgit of Islamic notes sold by Terengganu Investment Authority Bhd., the precursor to 1MDBHe allegedly received funds from illegal activities involving a total of 2.08 billion ringgit from Tanore Finance Corp.’s account at Falcon Private Bank in SingaporeHe’s accused of money laundering in relation to a total of 2.2 billion ringgit of fund transfers to Tanore’s account at FalconHe allegedly used funds from illegal activities involving 20 million ringgit paid to United Malays National Organisation, the largest opposition party, as well as 100,000 ringgit to UMNO’s Batu Kawan divisionHe allegedly spent illicit funds, including 303,000 ringgit sent to Semarak Konsortium Satu Sdn., 2 million ringgit to ORB Solutions Sdn., and 246,000 ringgit sent to Lim Soon Peng(Updates with comments from the prosecutor throughout.)\--With assistance from Chloe Whiteaker and Kristine Servando.To contact the reporters on this story: Anisah Shukry in Kuala Lumpur at ashukry2@bloomberg.net;Hadi Azmi in Kuala Lumpur at klnews@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Yudith Ho at yho35@bloomberg.net, Ruth PollardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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